EVERY TIME DALLAS EAKINS SPEAKS, THE EDMONTON OILERS GET SMARTER

It’s difficult to stop smiling after a media conference involving Dallas Eakins–he’s another MacT in that the strength and reason of the words shine bright against the backdrop of abject failure the recent past. Shine on, Dallas Eakins, shine on.

HOW TO DEAL WITH IDIOTS

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If you’ve read this blog for long, you know that we’re devoted to the idea that the best way to counter intimidation and physical play is with goals and wins. Ales Hemsky spent a decade being the roadkill to Robyn Regehr’s Mack truck–with Steve MacIntyre nearby on the bench getting a good view. Countering thugs and hoods with thugs and hoods means the skill players are on the ice less, and the point of the game–winning–becomes secondary. This does NOT mean I’m in favor of the Oilers representing road kill every night. It does NOT mean I’m hoping Sam Gagner gets his teeth knocked out every night. It DOES mean that there is a more effective way to counter the problem with the hoods, and Dallas Eakins gets it. Man, does he get it.

  • Dallas Eakins on thugs, dolts and pond scum:Hockey gets to be a tough game some nights, I did like our response, Brownie was good the one time. I think it was Wiese who was trying to get to Khaira and Perron jumped in. You don’t want just one guy to look after that, you need a big scrum. If one guy is getting pushed around, you want all 5 guys in there, I thought we responded well. The great thing for me in tonight’s game was they can run all they want, we were able to draw a lot of powerplays, I was fine with the game in that department anyway.”

Look, I know it’s a tough item to watch these kids get run over. However–unlike the Oilers in the ’00s when Hemsky had little help–this Oiler team is going to skewer opposition with a powerplay that will end coaching careers and send more “stick optional” dunce caps back to the minors than Carter has liver pills. Seriously. They send one of our guys to the hospital? Let Yakupov rip a slapper off some guy’s thigh and pot a goal–at some point, by the time the other team is on their second or third coach, the message will get through–don’t take penalties against the Edmonton Oilers, coach doesn’t like Peoria!

THINGS CAN GET BETTER

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Eakins was on fire after the game, some of his quotes were outstanding. Here’s a review:

  • Eakins on Belov: “I thought he’d probably have an off night and he didn’t, I thought he was solid. We’re going to have to play him a fair amount without killing him, first impression was okay.”
  • Eakins on acquiring Perron: “Boy I think we got a lot. We’ve got a guy who can score, competes hard, he’s not afraid to get his nose dirty, we’ve let him loose on the penalty kill a little as well, I think we’ve got a well rounded player.”
  • Eakins on Ryan Hamilton and Will Acton:They’ve come as advertised, hard working, gritty, they’ll continue to claw and fight for a spot.”
  • Eakins on Yakupov: “The kid is so much fun to watch play, when he gets the puck everyone moves forward in their seat.”

It kind of makes you want to cry. A few short years ago, we were hearing this from the head coach:

  • Pat Quinn: “Like the last one in the second period, our defenceman chased up too high. They know that he’s not supposed to go there, but he got himself out of whack, bang, and it’s down out in front and they’ve got a two-on-one and our front defenceman looked like Barbara Ann Scott on it.”

Just to update, Lubomir Visnovsky is now 37 and remains an NHL player, while Quinn most recently was heard on Vancouver radio telling the world Rob Schremp was a better plan than Sam Gagner. Le sigh.

I’M IN HEAVEN!

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  • Eakins on Hemsky: “Ales has been unbelieveable. He has been an absolute pleasure, to coach so far. We’ve had a lot of conversations, I explained to him what I expect of him, he said absolutely. He’s been outstanding in every game he’s played–I’m not even talking about the plays he’s making with the puck, I’m talking about his back pressure, his penalty killing, his commitment to defense. This guy is on! I’m so glad he’s an Edmonton Oiler, if he can continue this he’s going to have a great season for us.”

I’ll leave you with a quote (I think this is the direct quote) from my favorite movie:

  • Ellis Boy “Red” Redding: “Andy Dufresne, the man who crawled through 500 yards of shit and came out clean the other end.”

ssr3

I am so happy with this hockey club this morning.

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90 Responses to "EVERY TIME DALLAS EAKINS SPEAKS, THE EDMONTON OILERS GET SMARTER"

  1. sliderule says:

    LT
    What is the injury that Marco Roy has?

  2. Lowetide says:

    sliderule:
    LT
    What is the injury that Marco Roy has?

    Not sure. All I could find was he’d miss the weekend games.

  3. sliderule says:

    The thing I didn’t like is that they went back to putting two players behind the line and passing the puck back and forth on a five on three PP.
    I hope this is just a carryover from RK that Bucky forgot to delete.
    From what I have seen of Eakins he will dump that system in a heartbeat.
    I hope.

  4. RMGS says:

    My nickname for Coach Eakins: “The Redeemer”

  5. B S says:

    Devils advocate maybe, but what do you do about goons and thugs when the other team (coach included) doesn’t care about winning? Say in an exhibition game for example. And the refs are (as usual it seems) being F#$@ing useless. Kassian was going for a head shot right before that lumberjack shot on Gags and I hope to hell someone lays him out for it (Eager?) and I don’t mean a fight, I mean a swung stick of their own, or an elbow up.

    You don’t have to fight these shits, but the Oilers have been too passive about this shit. “oh we’ll get them on the powerplay” only works 1) when your powerplay is clipping along fast enough to make a difference every game (say 1 in 4/ 25%) and 2) the refs are calling those penalties, getting sick of their inconsistency across the season and between games, you’d think they were all norwegian.

    To me the only saving grace might be if the Oilers (especially Yak) shoot more and turn their PP into a shooting gallery.

  6. HBomb says:

    LT,

    Yesterday’s thread, you had Ryan Jones listed under your “certain” Oilers. Are you prepared to downgrade his status? Because the following should be considered:

    - Good reviews over the play of Acton and Hamilton last night, in addition to solid reviews for one Jesse Joensuu in previous matchups.

    - Bob Stauffer’s comment on Twitter about Oiler veterans who think that they have this team made but shouldn’t be so quick to assume so (new coach, no loyalties)

    - The COH guys seeing the same thing in the post-game review that myself and a friend were seeing last night – Jones might have been the worst Oiler forward last night (bad penalties, looked slow, possession died with him on more than one occasion)

    I think it is safe to say that Ryan Jones on the opening night roster is FAR from a sure thing at this point. And frankly, in the name of progress forward to a playoff berth, if he wasn’t in the final forward grouping, would it be that big a loss?

    Hall, Eberle, RNH (injured), Yakupov, Gagner, Perron, Hemsky, Gordon, Smyth

    Joensuu, Acton, Hamilton, Lander, Brown, Eager, Omark, Jones

    Eight guys in contention for what will start as six spots (and maybe just five if they only keep 7D).

  7. Woodguy says:

    IT FUN TO BE AN OILERS FAN AGAIN!!!!

    You don’t feel that sense of impending doom that the people in charge are in over their heads.

    Thank god.

    I couldn’t take much more of it.

  8. Lowetide says:

    BS: A few things:

    1. Norwegian? Really? I hear they say the same thing about Albertans. Suspect they’re right.
    2. Fighting idiots with idiots is losing the point of the game.
    3. Pre-season is an area where you can get these mistmatches.
    4. I think there’s a natural reaction to things in a morning after one of the centermen has been injured. It points out the lack of depth at center, but this is a tough game and these things happen.

  9. Woodguy says:

    B S:
    Devils advocate maybe, but what do you do about goons and thugs when the other team (coach included) doesn’t care about winning? Say in an exhibition game for example. And the refs are (as usual it seems) being F#$@ing useless. Kassian was going for a head shot right before that lumberjack shot on Gags and I hope to hell someone lays him out for it (Eager?) and I don’t mean a fight, I mean a swung stick of their own, or an elbow up.

    You don’t have to fight these shits, but the Oilers have been too passive about this shit. “oh we’ll get them on the powerplay” only works 1) when your powerplay is clipping along fast enough to make a difference every game (say 1 in 4/ 25%) and 2) the refs are calling those penalties, getting sick of their inconsistency across the season and between games, you’d think they were all norwegian.

    To me the only saving grace might be if the Oilers (especially Yak) shoot more and turn their PP into a shooting gallery.

    Its only in pre-season games that you see out right goonery like last night.

    I agree with LT that the best weapon is a good power play. Coaches that lose get fired and that shit stops quickly.

    I also think that a tough guy on the bench stops nothing.

    Brown was on the bench when Hall got elbowed and Gagner got sticked.

    Its a good thing for Oiler forwards to break the odd tooth themselves in self defence.

    Ryan Smyth was always good at this.

    Last year Shea Weber had him lined up and got a mouth full of stick.

    A great powerplay and occasionally sticking the worst guys in teeth will keep that shit to a minimum in the regular season.

  10. Lowetide says:

    H Bomb: No. Even on a great day like this one, it’s too much to hope for.

  11. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Just watched the PC, here it is in case anyone missed it:

    http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=446393

    Hearing someone the media and other meat-happy-fans have decided was hired to healthy scratch Hemsky, put Hall in his place and take a tire iron to the fun Yak has on the ice upend all their expectations is amazing.

    It’s nice to have someone in a position of influence get it about Hemsky. We’ll see if the media took the notes.

    ———-
    LT, I think your wording on the Belov quote is slightly off and appears to change the meaning. Should read:

    “I thought he would probably have an off night and he didn’t”

  12. Woodguy says:

    In line with Eakins’ comments on 83, The Oiler’s Rig blog has a great post up on Hemsky today:

    http://theoilersrig.com/2013/09/22/whats-your-problem-with-ales-hemsky/

    Just once I wanted Hemsky to butt end Reghr in the throat on the way into the corner.

    Hemsky’s a warrior.

    The coach leading the charge from his corner will keep the MSM crap about him to a minimum as well.

    ITS FINALLY FUN TO BE AN OILERS FAN AGAIN!!!

  13. Lowetide says:

    Rom: I’ve got “I thought he’d probably have an off night and he didn’t”

  14. HBomb says:

    Lowetide:
    H Bomb: No. Even on a great day like this one, it’s too much to hope for.

    I’m starting to think it might become reality. Ben Eager looked better in the game I watched him play than Jones did. That’s a sign right there.

  15. Woodguy says:

    HBomb,

    Jones looked fucking awful.

    For the first time in a long time I think that there is real competition at the bottom of the roster (and for minor league goalies) and for the first time in a long time I think the better man will win.

    Also,

    Taylor Fedun will have a NHL career.

    Who knew that a guy who made the Dean’s list at Princeton and builds hovercrafts from spare parts would be so smart?

    The guy plays a very, very smart game.

    If he didn’t go through the devastating injury last year, he probably would have been a regular in Edmonton by the end of the season.

    I rate him above Grebs based on the pre-season, and I’m a big Grebs fan.

    I think he may have passed Klef in the short term as well.

  16. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy,

    The best defense against the goons, scrubs and twerbs is to make yourself pointy and awkward all over. You should be like a hyperbolic stucco wall, all elbows, butt-ends, shoulders, hips, knees, etc.

    Without putting yourself in a vulnerable position, people should be afeared to tread into you.

  17. RMGS says:

    For the record: if Jones doesn’t make the team on merit, I take (partial) credit.

  18. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide:
    Rom: I’ve got “I thought he’d probably have an off night and he didn’t”

    perfectly good!

    when I read it earlier, unless the late morning coffee wake-up is taking it’s time and I’m suffering the effects of a mild “Steve Smith”, it read: “I thought he had an off night and he didn’t” which confused me greatly…. but it may have been the “Steve Smith.”

  19. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I think Belov showed very well and look forward to seeing him with a better partner, more rest and practice time.

    I think Ty Rimmer just earned a contract and a leap frogging up depth chart. I’d go

    Bachman
    Tuohimaa
    Rimmer
    Roy
    Bunz

    Right now. Does anyone know if he has a year of jr. eligibility left? would the team send him to jr or to Bakersfield if they signed him?

  20. Lowetide says:

    HBomb: I’m starting to think it might become reality.Ben Eager looked better in the game I watched him play than Jones did. That’s a sign right there.

    Well, if I’m slotting the wingers (and we’ll exclude Hall for now) my list would be:

    1. Perron-Eberle
    2. Yakupov-Hemsky
    3. Hamilton-Joensuu
    4. Eager-Omark
    5. Smyth-Jones
    6. Brown-Pitlick

    So I think they might IR Smyth before the club runs Jones off.

  21. B S says:

    Woodguy,

    I’m not claiming a goon as nuclear deterent (although, if the coach isn’t too chickenshit to take an instigator it can still work) is the best strategy, I’m just saying that a PP that might not come, and probably won’t come later in the season, at least not without balancing penalties, isn’t as great a deterrent as it first seems. I’m not great at math, but I’m pretty sure that if 28 of your players get injured, and your pp is pumping at 25% then you get 7 goals for your whole roster using this method. Not much point if you make the playoffs with just your AHL roster.

    Believe it or not I’m usually an advocate for clean hockey, but when the refs won’t give the Oilers the same benefit as the Red Wings, then clean respectful play is pointless and it’s time to go a little Hanson Brothers once in a while.

    I could still hold out if the Oilers would shoot the damn puck more on the powerplay. I suspect the impending risk of injury from 5 Yak snapshots on a powerplay would give you a less than favourable view on a teammate taking a reckless thug penalty.

  22. HBomb says:

    Woodguy:
    HBomb,

    Jones looked fucking awful.

    For the first time in a long time I think that there is real competition at the bottom of the roster (and for minor league goalies) and for the first time in a long time I think the better man will win.

    Also,

    Taylor Fedun will have a NHL career.

    Who knew that a guy who made the Dean’s list at Princeton and builds hovercrafts from spare parts would be so smart?

    The guy plays a very, very smart game.

    If he didn’t go through the devastating injury last year, he probably would have been a regular in Edmonton by the end of the season.

    I rate him above Grebs based on the pre-season, and I’m a big Grebs fan.

    I think he may have passed Klef in the short term as well.

    Jones not being ensured a spot on the roster would be nothing but a good sign for this organization. Gone are the days where marginal NHL’ers are considered “sure things” to be on the big club.

    Yeah, the cadre of #28 fan-boys might not like it, but such a scenario represents massive progress on a number of levels. And there is a non-zero chance that it plays out that way.

    As for Grebeshkov…I’d have rather they taken a run at bringing back one Tom Gilbert (simply for the RH shot depth behind JSchultz and Petry), but that’s just me. I like Belov last night – a lot. Having all these guys competing for spots is a good thing – the “big three” (Nurse, Klefbom and Marincin) will have to be over-ripe and knocking down the door before they actually make the big club.

  23. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: Well, if I’m slotting the wingers (and we’ll exclude Hall for now) my list would be:

    1. Perron-Eberle
    2. Yakupov-Hemsky
    3. Hamilton-Joensuu
    4. Eager-Omark
    5. Smyth-Jones
    6. Brown-Pitlick

    So I think they might IR Smyth before the club runs Jones off.

    So, now you have Omark making the team?

    Yesterday you had him and Lander out in the next round of cuts.

    TC: Everything Changes Every Minute!

    ———–
    any word on Gagner out there?

  24. HBomb says:

    Lowetide: Well, if I’m slotting the wingers (and we’ll exclude Hall for now) my list would be:

    1. Perron-Eberle
    2. Yakupov-Hemsky
    3. Hamilton-Joensuu
    4. Eager-Omark
    5. Smyth-Jones
    6. Brown-Pitlick

    So I think they might IR Smyth before the club runs Jones off.

    I think you’ve got Smyth too low. Yeah, he’s lost a step, but the guy still knows WHAT to do. 4LW spot is his, without much debate.

    And I like Joensuu a lot too. This team is overdue for a bargain-bin UFA “find” that can contribute. Hopefully he’s Ulf Dahlen re-incarnate in the whole “big man who can play with the skill” sense.

  25. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: So, now you have Omark making the team?

    Yesterday you had him and Lander out in the next round of cuts.

    TC: Everything Changes Every Minute!

    ———–
    any word on Gagner out there?

    No, I don’t think Omark makes the team, and I do think Jones makes it. The list above is my reading, I don’t think that’ll be the lineup. I’m not against Eager making the team, as a for instance. I’d LOVE for Omark to make it, but don’t think he’s shown enough.

    I rarely post my preferences because imo that’s not really all that interesting. What the Oilers will DO is far more interesting imo.

  26. Clarkenstein says:

    You can give me all “we’ll beat ‘em on the power play” arguments you want but the fact remains there are players that get the shit beat out of them on a nightly basis. Hall gets run, Nurse gets splattered, Gagner loses chiclets and all that happens is Brown ends up on the bottom of a hugging match! Sound familiar? It should because it’s been going on for 5 years. Championship teams have a player or two that are just a bubble off centre… and they can play! Give me a guy that’s a little fucked up any day. They get the other team running all over the place after him and THAT is when the talent on the OIl will take over.

  27. Lowetide says:

    HBomb: I think you’ve got Smyth too low.Yeah, he’s lost a step, but the guy still knows WHAT to do.4LW spot is his, without much debate.

    And I like Joensuu a lot too.This team is overdue for a bargain-bin UFA “find” that can contribute.Hopefully he’s Ulf Dahlen re-incarnate in the whole “big man who can play with the skill” sense.

    The thing about Smyth is that the footspeed is going to make him a relic in about 7 minutes. Eakins is saying “we’ll get Perron and Hall and this guy to PK” because he isn’t going to say “Smyth can’t play the uptempo, aggressive style we need” without addressing the line of the line for 94.

    But it’s there, like a sad sad song.

  28. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    A couple of Nuck thoughts.

    THis is a team built for offense and PP magic.

    Slowly you can see Gillis dismantle that.

    1. Gillis moves Hodgson for Kassian saying he wants more meat in the lineup

    2. Gillis picks up Sestito on waivers

    3. Gillis in his year end PC, after falling in the first round talks about how the game is changing and you need to be bigger, stronger, etc

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7WfBZPAdM8

    4. Gillis fires AV and hires Torts

    5. Torts has the Sedins PK and shot block, AV thinks this is crazy:

    http://video.tsn.ca/?dl=nhl-latest/latest/4/0/1007513/clip/401#

    6. They ice a bunch of goons, scrubs and twerbs in preseason, clearly auditioning for meat

    counter-argument: they didn’t fuck up the draft by taking McCarron (25 OV) over Shinkaruk (24 OV)

  29. Lowetide says:

    Clarkenstein:
    You can give me all “we’ll beat ‘em on the power play” arguments you want but the fact remains there are players that get the shit beat out of them on a nightly basis. Hall gets run, Nurse gets splattered, Gagner loses chiclets and all that happens is Brown ends up on the bottom of a hugging match! Sound familiar? It should because it’s been going on for 5 years.Championship teams have a player or two that are just a bubble off centre… and they can play!Give me a guy that’s a little fucked up any day. They get the other team running all over the place after him and THAT is when the talent on the OIl will take over.

    Sure, but that’s the difference–they can play! I have zero problem with actual NHL players who can also play a physical style, but it’s also true that Hall, Yakupov and the others can defend themselves too.

    Get. good. players. If they have one or two who are 6.05, 220 and can wheel? Music!

  30. Henry says:

    Is there any news on Sam Gagner’s xrays? That was a brutal shot he took.

  31. Lowetide says:

    Henry:
    Is there any news on Sam Gagner’s xrays?That was a brutal shot he took.

    Not yet. We wait.

  32. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: No, I don’t think Omark makes the team, and I do think Jones makes it. The list above is my reading, I don’t think that’ll be the lineup. I’m not against Eager making the team, as a for instance. I’d LOVE for Omark to make it, but don’t think he’s shown enough.

    I rarely post my preferences because imo that’s not really all that interesting. What the Oilers will DO is far more interesting imo.

    Ah… the old “my preferences vs. team preferences ploy”

    crafty, very crafty

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfPsULW-wYc

  33. Ducey says:

    Lowetide: Well, if I’m slotting the wingers (and we’ll exclude Hall for now) my list would be:

    1. Perron-Eberle
    2. Yakupov-Hemsky
    3. Hamilton-Joensuu
    4. Eager-Omark
    5. Smyth-Jones
    6. Brown-Pitlick

    So I think they might IR Smyth before the club runs Jones off.

    Whoa there. Eager and Omark ahead of Brown and Smyth?

    No way.

    Brown looked very good last night. Smyth has looked good in his last two.

    I’d have:
    4. Smyth – Brown

    With Jones Omark and Eager fighting for spot in the pressbox

    Eager hasn’t shown any ability to handle the puck or fighting. Omark has been quite poor.

  34. oilgreg says:

    I like :

    Perron – Eberle
    Joensuu – Yakupov
    Hamilton – Hemsky
    Eager. – Brown
    Smith

    Grit on each line. I know, Lowetide, that you don’t like the goon approach, but you have to look out for your players. Hall, Eberle and RNH have been targets in the past, and Hall came within millimeters of a solid shot to the head last night. Joensuu and Hamilton seem to have enough skill to keep up to the play. In fact, Joensuu has shown flashes of being able to initiate plays. Hemsky can move up the line-up for shifts when matches look favorable.

  35. Lowetide says:

    Ducey: Whoa there.Eager and Omark ahead of Brown and Smyth?

    No way.

    I think so, yes. Not saying that’s what will happen, but if the Oilers break camp with Eager and not Brown I don’t think many will be surprised. As I mentioned above though, this isn’t what I think the Oilers will do, it’s what I would do.

  36. Woodguy says:

    Clarkenstein:
    You can give me all “we’ll beat ‘em on the power play” arguments you want but the fact remains there are players that get the shit beat out of them on a nightly basis. Hall gets run, Nurse gets splattered, Gagner loses chiclets and all that happens is Brown ends up on the bottom of a hugging match! Sound familiar? It should because it’s been going on for 5 years.Championship teams have a player or two that are just a bubble off centre… and they can play!Give me a guy that’s a little fucked up any day. They get the other team running all over the place after him and THAT is when the talent on the OIl will take over.

    I agree a slightly insane guy who can play is ideal, but they are pretty rare.

    The bottom line is that players have to protect themselves.

    The 4 conference finalists were:

    Chicago-LA
    Pittsburgh-Boston

    Chicago – Bollig is the closest thing to “that guy” and he only dressed in 25 of 48 regular season games and 5 playoff game.

    LA – Doesn’t really have that guy. They are all big and tough players, but not particularly “dirty”, except that cheap prick Brown and he’s not big. Jordan Nolan is not a policeman.

    Boston – Much like LA,they take care of themselves. Thornton is the closest thing to the player you describe, but Chara and Lucic had more PIMs. Thornton plays a regular shift and all the games.

    PIT – No real tough guy. Glass up front and Engelland lead in PIMs but they enforce nothing, they stir shit up a bit.

    Bottom line is players need to protect themselves.

  37. Lowetide says:

    oilgreg:
    I like :

    Perron – Eberle
    Joensuu –Yakupov
    Hamilton – Hemsky
    Eager.–Brown
    Smith

    Grit on each line. I know, Lowetide, that you don’t like the goon approach, but you have to look out for your players. Hall, Eberle and RNH have been targets in the past, and Hall came within millimeters of a solid shot to the head last night. Joensuu and Hamilton seem to have enough skill to keep up to the play. In fact, Joensuu has shown flashes of being able to initiate plays. Hemsky can move up the line-up for shifts when matches look favorable.

    I’m fine with playing Joensuu and Hamilton up, if they can play there. I have Joensuu on the team and Hamilton trending there. However, if you’re suggesting breaking up Hall-Hemsky to throw Joesnuu instead, I can’t agree.

  38. Woodguy says:

    Ducey,

    Brown looked very good last night. Smyth has looked good in his last two.

    Looked good?

    I thought he looked a step behind the play, didn’t hit on the forecheck when he could of (could have buried Tanev and opted not too after VAN was running every Oilers)

    I thought he showed his uselessness last night.

    He needs to hit on the forecheck and keep up with the play and he didn’t.

  39. Woodguy says:

    oilgreg,

    Grit on each line. I know, Lowetide, that you don’t like the goon approach, but you have to look out for your players. Hall, Eberle and RNH have been targets in the past, and Hall came within millimeters of a solid shot to the head last night.

    Brown was on the bench.

    Why didn’t his presence in the game stop those hits from happening?

  40. oilgreg says:

    Lowetide: I’m fine with playing Joensuu and Hamilton up, if they can play there. I have Joensuu on the team and Hamilton trending there. However, if you’re suggesting breaking up Hall-Hemsky to throw Joesnuu instead, I can’t agree.

    I’d have Hall with Yakupov, and have Joensuu trolling the left side. I can see value in playing Hall & Hemsky together, but I would be willing to bet that Yak blows away your RE if he gets significant ice time with Hall. Coaching comes into play here too. There will be plenty of opportunities, especially on home ice, to send out three offensive (Hall, Yak AND Hemsky) players.

  41. Lowetide says:

    oilgreg: I’d have Hall with Yakupov, and have Joensuu trolling the left side. I can see value in playing Hall & Hemsky together, but I would be willing to bet that Yak blows away your RE if he gets significant ice time with Hall.Coaching comes into play here too. There will be plenty of opportunities, especially on home ice, to send out three offensive (Hall, Yak AND Hemsky) players.

    In a perfect world, my lines would be (C-L-R)

    1. Nuge-Hall-Eberle
    2. Gagner-Joensuu-Yakupov
    3. Gordon-Perron-Hemsky
    4. Acton-R Hamilton-big strong Bruins RW type

    I’d like that lineup. I just don’t know if Joensuu can do it.

  42. oilgreg says:

    Lowetide: In a perfect world, my lines would be (C-L-R)

    1. Nuge-Hall-Eberle
    2. Gagner-Joensuu-Yakupov
    3. Gordon-Perron-Hemsky
    4. Acton-R Hamilton-big strong Bruins RW type

    I’d like that lineup. I just don’t know if Joensuu can do it.

    When was the last time an oilers team could ice three lines of this quality? Joensuu is the wild card. Lots (playoffs??) depend on what type of addition he and Belov prove to be.

    Like your lines. I would switch Eberle and Yak.

    The big question, of course, is Hall a centre or a wing? That changes everything.

  43. B S says:

    oilgreg: When was the last time an oilers team could ice three lines of this quality? Joensuu is the wild card. Lots (playoffs??) depend on what type of addition he and Belov prove to be.

    Like your lines. I would switch Eberle and Yak.

    The big question, of course, is Hall a centre or a wing? That changes everything.

    He’s a wing, otherwise your top LWers are Perron, Joensuu and Smyth.

  44. "Steve Smith" says:

    oilgreg: I’d have Hall with Yakupov, and have Joensuu trolling the left side.

    Whatever you say, OTC.

  45. Lucinius says:

    There are only a couple of ways to stop opposing teams from trying to demolish the Oilers every night by being dirty little assholes like the Canucks were last night;

    1) Nuclear deterrent; these are rare, and the coach that plays them is even rarer. These are the guys that play 3-4 minutes a night and see their spot taken by someone else double-shifting until needed. Then someone will take a run at an Oiler and you send him over with the express purpose to hurt people — cleanly, if possible.. but that’s a bonus, not a requirement. And then you live with the penalties against and the suspensions. But it will stop it, but you need at least two (and basically you just rotate them into the line up based on who isn’t suspended currently).

    Not a great option long term, but it will satisfy the inner caveman/sociopath in the fan base.

    2) Players look out after their own. This is the most common method in the NHL these days; getting your stick up when someone tries to run you followed up by the swarming of your entire on-ice personnel (sans goalie.. usually) onto the aggressor with a lot of you taking cheap shots in the scrum. This works.. but only sorta. This is what teams like the Penguins, Kings, Hawks, etc., do.. but you do still see their players get run commonly. You just don’t see the mis-matches because their entire team tries to push-back.

    Works, but won’t with the OIler line-up. For some reason most of the young kids and middle-of-the-road vets don’t do this much. No idea why. I’d force every player to spend a few minutes with Smyth and Smid (the latter has gotten very fucking dirty with his stick the last two years and he gets run a whole lot less than he used to) every day during practice.

    3) The powerplay that God built. You let them goon you up, taking just enough action to prevent injury when possible. Then you give their fans cause to drink as you score bushels of goals on the powerplay. Will see minimal change from game to game, but from season to season there will be change. Slightly problematic given the Refs tend to be four happy meals short of a full lunch and you can’t make the opposing team pay for being dirty if you don’t get the actual powerplays. Saw this a bit last night — a number of dirty plays saw no penalties called.

    This works, but would require the Oilers to actually fucking shoot on the powerplay instead of passing the puck nineteen times before taking a point shot that bounces off a defender and out of the zone. They’d also need to be able to score on a 5 on 3, which they can’t.

    Now, obviously a combo of 2 and 3 are the ideal.

    Personally, I’d like to see 1, just a little. But I’m very much a blood for body kind of guy. I do believe in the ‘you put one of ours in the hospital? We WILL put one of yours in the morgue’ line of thinking. But, I’m an asshole.

  46. oilgreg says:

    Woodguy,

    I think you answered your own question. Brown was on the bench.

    The player needs to be on the ice, and needs to be good enough to ‘be on the ice.’ May not always prevent, but certainly allows for an answer (which, over time) will be a prevention. I still recall Hall being run from behind by Hanzal. No way that would have happened had there been someone on the ice larger than 5’10″.

  47. LMHF#1 says:

    Lucinius:
    There are only a couple of ways to stop opposing teams from trying to demolish the Oilers every night by being dirty little assholes like the Canucks were last night;

    1) Nuclear deterrent

    The issue the Oilers here is that you need Dave Brown in order to do this rather than Mike Brown.

  48. Bos8 says:

    I still like the Ted Lindsay method – “You want me, you’re coming through five feet of lumber.” Hold a Smyth clinic. And then there is the trusty butt end.

  49. oilgreg says:

    “Steve Smith”: Whatever you say, OTC.

    What does OTC mean? Guess I’m too old to know all of these internet abrieviations …

  50. Lowetide says:

    oilgreg:
    Woodguy,

    I think you answered your own question. Brown was on the bench.

    The player needs to be on the ice, and needs to be good enough to ‘be on the ice.’ May not always prevent, but certainly allows for an answer (which, over time) will be a prevention.I still recall Hall being run from behind by Hanzal. No way that would have happened had there been someone on the ice larger than 5’10″.

    Yes. I think we all agree on this one. GET. GOOD PLAYERS. AND if they happen to be a half bubble off plumb? Cool. I loved Messier, he was filthy. Please sir, may I have another? :-)

  51. OilClog says:

    I guess I’m on an island all by myself with this. But what I’ve seen from Eager, he’s the only one in the bottom 6 that is effective at hitting. Maybe his stick skills aren’t there, but for a forth line wrecking ball.. He’s better then anyone else the Oilers have put out there. Between the two Canuck games I thought Eager was missed last night.

    Hall xxx Hemsky
    RNH Perron Eberle
    Gags Joenssu Yak
    Gordon Eager Brown
    Smyth

    It’s sad Smyth is 37.. Even at 34 he would of filled that #1LW spot nicely..

    I haven’t grown a fondness for the new marlies..

  52. Lowetide says:

    oilgreg: What does OTC mean? Guess I’m too old to know all of these internet abrieviations …

    Old timey coach, in honor of Pat Quinn.

  53. Lowetide says:

    Bos8:
    I still like the Ted Lindsay method – “You want me, you’re coming through five feet of lumber.”Hold a Smyth clinic.And then there is the trusty butt end.

    Lindsay could also play the game, and the game he played was 1955 hockey.

  54. Racki says:

    I think the Oilers have always been a team that reacts to the edgy play rather than initiates it. Why aren’t they the team that initiates that from time to time? It doesn’t have to be dirty to get a team focusing on a hit. I do believe the best way to follow up a dirty hit is a power play goal, but this was also a pre-season game.

    Does anyone think Tortorella cares if we scored a powerplay goal on the Weise penalty in pre-season? You know Tortorella… he’d be content to see Nurse have a separated shoulder and Hall’s TV signal be staticy. He’s like John Kreese of the Cobra Kai. “Sweep the leg, Johnny!!!” lol

    This is nothing new either.. I’d swear the Canucks played the same thuggery last pre-season too.

  55. Woodguy says:

    oilgreg:
    Woodguy,

    I think you answered your own question. Brown was on the bench.

    The player needs to be on the ice, and needs to be good enough to ‘be on the ice.’ May not always prevent, but certainly allows for an answer (which, over time) will be a prevention.I still recall Hall being run from behind by Hanzal. No way that would have happened had there been someone on the ice larger than 5’10″.

    You are missing the point.

    The player you want isn’t good enough to be on the ice with good players.

    You are also living in a fantasy world that no one will play tough hockey against the Oilers if they have the goon.

    Those players stop nothing.

    Hockey is a tough game and having a goon doesn’t mean it won’t stop being tough.

    Hanzel is a good hockey player and will finish that play regardless of who is on the ice.

  56. HeyJakel says:

    LT:

    You think Hemsky has any shot at the captaincy? Maybe this is just me thinking he looked really good with a letter on his jersey last night, but after that Eakins quote you posted…

  57. Woodguy says:

    LMHF#1: The issue the Oilers here is that you need Dave Brown in order to do this rather than Mike Brown.

    Dave Brown wouldn’t stop shit from happening in today’s NHL.

    1) He couldn’t catch anybody
    2) Instigator rule eliminates what he brought

    Steve McIntyre being on the bench for the Oilers and Penguins while their players got run proves this.

    Its doesn’t matter.

  58. Lowetide says:

    HeyJakel:
    LT:

    You think Hemsky has any shot at the captaincy? Maybe this is just me thinking he looked really good with a letter on his jersey last night, but after that Eakins quote you posted…

    THAT would be gold! I don’t think so, but you never know. I’ve always hoped he would be Alfredsson to the young set.

  59. thejonrmcleod says:

    A few thoughts:

    - I like everything about Eakins except his haircut.

    - Stauffer suggested that an Oilers’ veteran or two might think they are a lock to make the team, but they are not. Jones? Even Spector was complaining about him.

    - Did anyone else notice that the man behind the Don Cherry Twitter parody account mistakenly revealed himself last night?

    - Thought Belov looked sublime.

    - Yakupov looks much more assertive this pre-season. Put someone on his line who’s going to feed him the puck.

    - There were complaints about the Oilers lacking a physical game. But didn’t a Canuck player (Jensen) get injured early in the game after receiving a check? I thought a saw a replay of Hamilton hitting him.

  60. Lucinius says:

    HeyJakel,

    Hemsky will never be captain. As a big Hemsky fan.. I’d hate to see him get it, as well. He isn’t a leader in that fashion. He just isn’t.

  61. HeyJakel says:

    Lowetide: THAT would be gold! I don’t think so, but you never know. I’ve always hoped he would be Alfredsson to the young set.

    That would be great, although hopefully without the “signing with Detroit to win something after years of futility” part.

  62. FastOil says:

    When the Oilers were one of the toughest teams in the league with skill players that were half crazed, teams still took liberties. It has always been a part of the NHL, it will not end soon. Reducing the skill of the players to become unassailable is more likely to accomplish not winning the Stanley Cup than anything else. Players will still get run and some hurt. I don’t like it, but an arms race is a race to the bottom. Keep your head up.

    Khaira is a pretty impressive young player. There is your Bruins winger in a few LT. In your perfect line up Gagner’s line is soft parade?

  63. Bos8 says:

    Lowetide: Lindsay could also play the game, and the game he played was 1955 hockey.

    It’s timeless. That’s why I always liked Smyth. Hedgehog to run at.

    I think I saw Belov wipe out someone in Siberia. A Kassian recipe.

    Also partial to, “Take a number for later”

  64. Henry says:

    Woodguy: Dave Brown wouldn’t stop shit from happening in today’s NHL.

    1) He couldn’t catch anybody
    2) Instigator rule eliminates what he brought

    Steve McIntyre being on the bench for the Oilers and Penguins while their players got run proves this.

    Its doesn’t matter.

    I’m not sure how I feel about this issue. Clark Gilles was a superb player and a terrifying fighter. I really think he kept Bossy away from a lot of cheap shots. I agree that a nuclear deterrent that is on the bench doesnt help much. But would a guy like that putting an unfair beatdown on kronwall immediately he runs Hemsky prevent the next hit from happening in today’s game?

    I honestly dont know and good players that tough are so rare it probably doesn’t matter. And i dont think that Clarkson fit the category.

  65. Henry says:

    HeyJakel:
    LT:

    You think Hemsky has any shot at the captaincy? Maybe this is just me thinking he looked really good with a letter on his jersey last night, but after that Eakins quote you posted…

    I’d love to see Mark Spector and Matty the instant that is announced! Trade the Captain
    ON would explode.

  66. G Money says:

    - Hockey is a tough game. Sometimes players get hurt. The Canucks lost more players than the Oilers did last night. The solution will be: a. don’t put yourself in vulnerable positions if you can help it, b. be aware that other teams are now scared of the Oiler skill level and will be looking to goon, so keep your head on a swivel, c. as others have said, learn to make yourself a nasty combination of stick, elbow, shoulder when someone goes to goon you. At this point, even an offsetting penalty will work in the Oilers favour against most teams.

    - The goonery of last night was overly blatant. It won’t be that bad in the regular season, because you can’t afford to give up eight power plays to a mid-season PP unit.

    - I thought Belov was fantastic last night for a guy playing his first NHL (preseason) game with minimal training camp. Almost every mention of his name was for something good instead of bad. With Ference and Belov (after just one game I have him as the far-and-away 6D now, I thought he was that good) swapping in for Whitney and Potter, I may have to rethink my Oiler playoff expectations prediction

  67. LMHF#1 says:

    Woodguy: Dave Brown wouldn’t stop shit from happening in today’s NHL.

    1) He couldn’t catch anybody
    2) Instigator rule eliminates what he brought

    Steve McIntyre being on the bench for the Oilers and Penguins while their players got run proves this.

    Its doesn’t matter.

    Equating those two is an insult to Brown. The reason I cited Brown was that he actually might’ve scared the other teams because he was nuts. I’m not saying it is a strategy I agree with, but if you’re going to do it, do it the only way that actually might have some small chance at working.

  68. "Steve Smith" says:

    1. I hope for Hemsky’s sake that there’s no chance of his being named captain. I’m also pretty sure there isn’t – would anybody here put money, given even odds, of his being an Oiler by the end of the season? In contrast, Smyth will presumably be an Oiler until retirement, while Hall, Eberle, and Ference will be until the end of their current contracts, barring a significant change of plan. Gagner’s the one unknown, among those who’ve been speculated as candidates.

    2. Can we say at this point that the Oilers’ top-six defencemen are set (as, in no particular order, Schultz, Schultz, Ference, Belov, Smid, and Petry)? There seems to be a significant drop-off after those guys.

  69. oilgreg says:

    Woodguy: You are missing the point.

    The player you want isn’t good enough to be on the ice with good players.

    W
    You are also living in a fantasy world that no one will play tough hockey against the Oilers if they have the goon.

    Those players stop nothing.

    Hockey is a tough game and having a goon doesn’t mean it won’t stop being tough.

    Hanzel is a good hockey player and will finish that play regardless of who is on the ice.

    Wood guy, first of all thank you for all of your postings this summer. I spent six weeks in Europe, and your regular contributions certainly helped to keep me up-to-date as to what was happening with the Oilers!
    But, I do not think that I am missing the point. I never used the word ‘goon,’ nor did I intend to suggest that idea. I did use the word ‘grit’ and in suggesting that Joensuu and Hamilton be used with a pair of skilled players, promote the idea of adding size to the line-up. I am hopeful that both these players can show themselves to be capable skill-wise.
    The hit by Hanzal that I was referring to was not a hockey play. It was a retaliatory hit on Hall for a slash to the back of Michalek’s leg. Home game last season.

  70. Racki says:

    And Sam Gagner has a broken jaw…… fack.

  71. Manitoba Oilers says:

    Jets vs oilers on tsn jets tommorow for sk mb and north Ontario
    Nhl centre ice 10 for everybody else

  72. Woodguy says:

    Racki:
    And Sam Gagner has a broken jaw…… fack.

    FFS.

    Why can’t we have nice things?

    Haven’t we suffered enough?

  73. Woodguy says:

    LMHF#1: Equating those two is an insult to Brown. The reason I cited Brown was that he actually might’ve scared the other teams because he was nuts. I’m not saying it is a strategy I agree with, but if you’re going to do it, do it the only way that actually might have some small chance at working.

    That player simply doesn’t exist in today’s NHL and MacIntyre is the closest thing.

  74. Racki says:

    I guess this means we’re guaranteed to see Hall at center for a fair bit longer. If they really do play at patient with Nuge, I’d imagine that we’re going to see some more Arco and Lander this pre-season while they figure out which one is somewhat capable enough to fill the hole.

  75. Woodguy says:

    oilgreg: Wood guy, first of all thank you for all of your postings this summer. I spent six weeks in Europe, and your regular contributions certainly helped to keep me up-to-date as to what was happening with the Oilers!
    But, I do not think that I am missing the point. I never used the word ‘goon,’ nor did I intend to suggest that idea. I did use the word ‘grit’ and in suggesting that Joensuu and Hamilton be used with a pair of skilled players, promote the idea of adding size to the line-up. I am hopeful that both these players can show themselves to be capable skill-wise.
    The hit by Hanzal that I was referring to was not a hockey play. It was a retaliatory hit on Hall for a slash to the back of Michalek’s leg.Home game last season.

    First of all, you’re welcome.

    Secondly, I get all that, but those plays happen all the time and nothing really stops them except the players defending themselves.

    Look at the Crosby hit by Steckel, look st Kassian’s loose stick breaking Gagner’s jaw.

    No player in the line up (including Dave Brown LMHF) stops that from happening.

  76. Racki says:

    Woodguy: That player simply doesn’t exist in today’s NHL and MacIntyre is the closest thing.

    In my opinion, it’s true you don’t have to worry about the Dave Brown’s anymore, you have to worry about the guys who can play the game though and play with an edge (ex. Clutterbuck’s, etc.). It would be nice to have one of those types that throws the other team off their game, however, rather than reacting to whatever their guy does.

    In a pre-season game, it’s also hard to argue that the Oilers got the better of the Canucks last night if Hall would have been concussed on that hit, Nurse had his shoulder blown and Gagner had his jaw decimated (that one I think was mostly accidental.. just stupid since Kassian has 3 brain cells) even if the final score was 10-2 Oilers.

  77. LMHF#1 says:

    Racki:
    And Sam Gagner has a broken jaw…… fack.

    Tim Connolly is still out there, isn’t he?

    Also, insert obligatory sarcastic “we don’t need Grabovski…” comment here.

  78. Manitoba Oilers says:

    Oilers cut
    Klefbom Marincin Bachman rimmer kharia Martindale miller

  79. Woodguy says:

    New thread

  80. Woodguy says:

    Racki: In my opinion, it’s true you don’t have to worry about the Dave Brown’s anymore, you have to worry about the guys who can play the game though and play with an edge (ex. Clutterbuck’s, etc.). It would be nice to have one of those types that throws the other team off their game, however, rather than reacting to whatever their guy does.

    In a pre-season game, it’s also hard to argue that the Oilers got the better of the Canucks last night if Hall would have been concussed on that hit, Nurse had his shoulder blown and Gagner had his jaw decimated (that one I think was mostly accidental.. just stupid since Kassian has 3 brain cells) even if the final score was 10-2 Oilers.

    And nothing stops those hits from happening except the player protecting themselves.

    In preseason nothing stops those at all as VAN was auditioning their grunts and they were all out to hurt someone to make the team.

  81. sliderule says:

    I didn’t record the game but in the brief clip they showed it looked like Kassian did an accidentally but really on purpose stick swing.
    If that is the case I believe Ok city has a real goon forgot his name who we should bring up next time we play nucks .Kassian has to much hubris to turtle so he will go.If our guy doesn’t win you send Brown after him.After a first fight you usually are so gassed you get smoked in the second fight.
    The rest of Western conference mostly coaches tough but clean.
    Torts coaches dirty.

  82. LMHF#1 says:

    What’s allowing this sort of thing is not the lack of a certain type of player, it is that if Taylor Hall stuck his elbow out to defend himself from a goon run, he would be not only penalized but likely suspended, which is simply asking for players to get hurt. Used to be par for the course (and still should be) that if you run at me I can defend myself.

  83. Gret99zky says:

    Hmmm. So they are going to trade Hemsky.

  84. FastOil says:

    Gret99zky:
    Hmmm.So they are going to trade Hemsky.

    They tried. Nobody will give anything.

  85. BlacqueJacque says:

    I’m doing some investigative work on LT’s finances, trying to find out who he paid off to get Gagner out of the roster long enough to make Hall stay at C for longer.

  86. Lowetide says:

    BlacqueJacque:
    I’m doing some investigative work on LT’s finances, trying to find out who he paid off to get Gagner out of the roster long enough to make Hall stay at C for longer.

    Heh. It does look like Hall’s staying put.

  87. DeadmanWaking says:

    The threat of raising the temperature is a winning strategy, if the threat is credible (some combination of bigger stick, more “Here’s Johnny!”)

    Actually raising the temperature is a losing strategy unless A) your principal weapon is the sucker punch, B) it establishes the credibility of your threat so you don’t have to do it again. No team can trade actual punches every second night all season long, and then play any better than a bag of mangled hammers.

    Non-credible threat

    For a simple example, suppose person A walks up, carrying a bomb, to another person B. A tells B he will set off the bomb, killing them both, unless B gives him all his money. If A is rational and non-suicidal he stands nothing to gain from setting off the bomb, so his threat cannot be considered credible. On the other hand, a person in the situation of B might give A his money, fearing that A is not rational, or might even be suicidal.

    Derangement as credible threat. Nice job if you can get it. Hell, after a while you don’t even need a real bomb.

    In my mental filing system, I have deterrence filed under pornography. Right beside TED porn. TED porn is the applause that spontaneously breaks out in the highly educated, liberal audience right after the speaker mentions “the eradication of …” followed by a liberal joy word: smallpox, polio, HIV, extreme poverty, African warlords, Flipper bycatch, ocean trash gyres, seed patents (I mean the actual seeds that farmers plant). Hey, porn is porn. One thing we know about porn is that it takes all kinds.

    Here’s the problem with deterrence porn. It works okay in prisoner’s dilemma, but not so well in iterated prisoner’s dilemma.

    If two players play prisoners’ dilemma more than once in succession and they remember previous actions of their opponent and change their strategy accordingly, the game is called iterated prisoners’ dilemma.

    Iterated here means: often enough that the strategic response is measured and rational. That’s what The Seven Samurai is about, really. The thugs became a bit too predictable, and the villagers finally got organized to push back. The thugs couldn’t capitulate without losing their credible threat, so they whooped and hollered their way to a mass grave. Once the thug population becomes so large that they have to hit the same villages year after year, this is where it has to go. Then for a while there are fewer thugs, and the villagers decide that the Samurai are too expensive and too disruptive (to rice and chastity) to invite to the party. It’s about rational deterrence (the calculating the disciplined Samurai) putting the shears to irrational deterrence.

    This is the killer satire behind the Dread Pirate Roberts.

    It is revealed during the course of the story that Roberts is not one man, but a series of individuals who periodically pass the name and reputation to a chosen successor. Everyone except the successor and the former Roberts is then released at a convenient port, and a new crew is hired. The former Roberts stays aboard as first mate, referring to his successor as “Captain Roberts”, and thereby establishing the new Roberts’ persona. After the crew is convinced, the former Roberts leaves the ship and retires on his earnings.

    Here we have irrational deterrence institutionalized, with retirement and succession plans. Note that true Samurai don’t go to a great deal of trouble to exaggerate or amplify their reputations. These people really are not fun to mess with. It’s an opposite George boast: we don’t boast because we don’t need to, unlike those unhinged Vikings who pound and thump.

    The Strange Story of Japanese Vikings

    Japan doesn’t have many natural resources. Historically, food in Japan was expensive and precious. In fact, famines were common throughout Japanese history. The idea of an all-you-can-eat buffet was unimaginable in Japan until the economy started to grow in the 1950s. In 1957, a restaurant manager from the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo traveled to Sweden. He was inspired by Swedish Smörgåsbord (buffet) restaurants. When he took his idea to the Imperial Hotel they were enthusiastic. The only problem — “Smörgåsbord” doesn’t sound catchy in Japanese. In fact, most Japanese people found it difficult to pronounce.

    And the rest is Kirk Douglas.

    There’s no question that “Coach doesn’t like Peoria!” is the Doomsday-scale analysis here. MacT’s deterrence is clever, but is it credible?

    Here’s where deterrence goes Cool Hand Luke. How many times can you be knocked down, and still stand up? No, this is not on the players. It’s on the GM. You don’t need six mobile puck-moving defensemen. You need nine. Or ten. Or twelve. You need enough so you don’t run out before you’ve eliminated the teams running them through the boards from playoff contention. Even better if this outcome is clearly established well before they’ve all been run through the boards.

    If it’s clear that you have more replacements than the other guy has games remaining, running your defensemen loses its sex appeal very rapidly. The real deterrence with MacT’s plan is not Brown on the bench, but all those serviceable guys down in OKC.

    MacT has a nice Sun Tzu thing going here, because those puck-moving defensemen have their back up against a wall and only one good survival option: move the puck smartly. The team isn’t built to take the fight to the alley. Sun Tzu always said that having one good survival option focuses the mind like nothing else.

    Our big adversaries would love to convince us to carry three guys on the bench who don’t contribute to our speed and pressure game. It’s hard for three useful lines to maintain a speed and pressure game over a long season. They win.

    From a game theory perspective, we’re in an interesting place here. Many of our first-tier adversaries are built from a similar template. If we find a formula for eliminating that advantage, we’re extremely well placed to succeed. There’s nothing better than having a David when every adversary you fear rides in on one big, slow Goliath. If we find success with this strategy, our adversaries are hard pressed to retool. The offensive talent on this team is in even shorter supply than big men who can receive a pass without tripping over their skate laces.

    If those big men teams find themselves on the bubble after the trade deadline, they’ll beat each other up pretty effectively. They’ll have no choice but to take the fight to the alley among their own kind.

    A good model of credible threats going in and out of fashion is air combat. In various eras firepower, speed, agility, or stealth have gained ascendancy. The fatal flaw of the Japanese air force in WWII is that their pilots were too well trained. Once they started to lose these pilots, they started calling up scrubs, who couldn’t do enough with the superior maneuverability of the Zero to offset the American advantage is pure muscle (better rate of climb, to name the most important). As soon as dogfighting tactics began to prevail, the Americans would disengage. Because they could.

    When it was introduced early in World War II, the Zero was considered the most capable carrier-based fighter in the world, combining excellent maneuverability and very long range. In early combat operations, the Zero gained a legendary reputation as a dogfighter, achieving the outstanding kill ratio of 12 to 1, but by mid-1942 a combination of new tactics and the introduction of better equipment enabled the Allied pilots to engage the Zero on more equal terms.

    One of the fatal flaws was that the Japanese needed large numbers of elite pilots. They invested hugely in pilot training before hostilities broke up (as only a Samurai culture can), but after they went toe to toe, it was proved impossible to keep this level of training up: eventually their best instructors were called into the fray.

    Stamina shows up everywhere in these things, not just on a single hairy-knuckled dimension. They didn’t give John Nash the Nobel prize in economics because this stuff is easy.

  88. Bushed says:

    Have to say I’m with Lucinius on the heavyweight debate. Also agree with Suds’ column on ON, in which he clearly states that these guys do make a difference. I understand the other points of view, but don’t agree completely. Yes, tough skill (a la Guerin or Messier) would be great, but we don’t have any of that right now, so what is the plan B?

    As Racki states, if the other team is head-hunting your skill players, losing one to injury and scoring a goal doesn’t seem to be much of a deterrent. Yes, you win that game. But now your skill guy is out for 6 weeks’ worth of games (or all season) against team douchebag (i.e. the Canucks) and every other team, and the rest of your skill is now looking over their shoulders. How exactly is that a win?

    The instigator rule has allowed players to run guys and hide behind their teams, or just keep gooning at will if the other team has no response. Do unevenly-penalized league suspensions do a better job of policing on-ice behavior than the players policing themselves? I’m not sure.

    The league’s attempts to “sanitize” the game and cut down on fighting has had some unintended but equally dangerous side effects. Fewer line brawls, but now we get to see star players injured by cheap-shot artists instead. If the offender isn’t a Red Wing (Kronwall) or a star player (Chara), there might be a fine or short suspension. Not good enough in my books.

    When the league changes the rules so that the offenders are out for as long as their victims (even for the Charas and Kronwalls), then there will be a real deterrent, and I’ll gladly drop the idea of a heavyweight-real-NHL-player-as-deterrent (or two) on the roster.

  89. Lowetide says:

    Bushed: the point is that it doesn’t deter anything. Kassian had his moment with Gagner and probably gets suspended. That won’t stop another Canuck from doing the same thing, and the only thing your suggestion does is put MacIntyre on the roster.

    It’s a loser’s bet. Pat Quinn proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

  90. Bushed says:

    Lowetide,

    If your real point is that it doesn’t deter everything (not anything), I don’t disagree.

    But you need to have some kind of answer at least some of the time. Preferably the answer is not an either-or scenario (Smac), but one that involves both toughness and skill.

    I loved Deadman’s post (very entertaining), but having a roster so deep that you can keep replacing all the dead soldiers doesn’t seem very practical or realistic, especially when an NHL roster includes a limited number of price tags that add up to a salary cap. You’re going to lose the war of attrition if you just let your star players get gooned.

    Are we past the days of the Battle of Alberta? the Broad Street Bullies? Sure.

    The douchebag Canucks (and coach)? No.

    If the powerplay is our only answer, expect to see our kids beaten up badly, or worse.

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